The characters in the novel often cannot control what is happening around them and become victims of fate. Chance happenings and coincidences often have serious consequences. And most of them are unlucky. In one scene in Rome near the end, Yossarian comments on all the pain and suffering in the world and how unfair it all is. All this endless suffering breeds a degree of cynicism in the men. They are hardened to pain, anticipate it, and cope with it by lashing out at others.
Although the men's actions in Catch-22 often have tragic consequences, the greatest tragedies are a product of chance and the men can do nothing to help the sad situations.
Although fate and coincidence cause some unhappiness in Catch-22, the men's thoughtless actions cause most of the harm and prove avoidable.